I realise we’re at the end of January, but I thought I would take the time and reflect back at 2022, and look at our successes and failures.
After moving plots in autumn 2021, 2022 was the first year growing on the new plot. We managed to clear a large bed in time for spring (in fact it covered almost half the plot) and gave enough growing space for what we needed. We kept to our core veg; potatoes, beans, onions, sweetcorn, pumpkins and courgettes.
The potatoes started off well and we managed to harvest all our first and most of our second early potatoes. However, we left the main crop in the ground for too long, and when it come to digging them up in the middle of winter, they had rotted away.
The beans done extremely well, but started to suffer a little during the heatwave. They soon bounced back in late summer.
Our onions were fantastic, in fact probably the best crop we’ve ever had and we’ve still got some left in the cupboard.
Sweetcorn started really well, but we had a few succumb to smut, a fungal disease which affects sweetcorn. Smut thrives on hot dry summers, so it’s no surprise we had it considering the temperatures we had.
There’s one major issue that cropped up in late autumn and that’s rats. Rats have moved in underneath the chicken coop and while we are keeping them at bay with traps, they are still a problem. Fortunately, they seem to be leaving the chickens alone and more interested in digging holes everywhere.
I was meant to publish this post last year, I’ve only just got around to writing it. Oops, sorry about that….
Anyway, it was autumn 2020 and we were discussing Christmas presents for our families. We wanted to make something, but wasn’t too sure. After a week of going back and fourth with ideas, we settled with fruit Gin.
So off we went, foraging through the local hedgerows and came back with a haul of elderberries and blackberries.
I know elderberries contain cyanide and this can be removed by cooking them. Not wanting to cook them down to a pulp, I thought the best option would to microwave them for a couple of minutes. In fact we done this with the blackberries too, just to get the juices flowing.
500g of fruit
100g of sugar
70cl Gin (we used a supermarkets own brand of Gin)
Remove the fruit from their stalks and remove any unripe fruit.
Place the fruit in a microwavable bowl and heat on full power for a couple of minutes.
Place the fruit and sugar in a large sterilised jar. Pour over the Gin and give it a good shake.
Over the next week, give the jar a good shake twice a day until all the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, store in a dark cupboard for around 4 weeks.
Strain the berries and mixture and discard the berries. You should be left with a sweet tasting gin. If not, add more sugar.
Return the Gin to the jar and store for another month or two before bottling and drinking.
We are moving plots! A plot come up on the allotment site that was a blank canvas, and we couldn’t resist it. We are currently moving everything over from the old plot. We’re really excited to work this new one.